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Critical Role Recap: C2E18 – “Whispers of War”

Spoilers for Critical Role Campaign 2 Episode 18 (obviously). Check out the recap for Campaign 2 Episode 17 here.
Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!

The Mighty Nein fight in the Victory Pits and prepare to leave Zadash.


The Mighty Nein woke up to the start of the Harvest Close festival. They traveled to the Penta Market where they played games of chances and strength. They were lured to a fighting competition where competitors would face off against various beasts. Whichever groups win all three rounds against their foes win a part of the victory pot. Each of the four groups gets through the first round, but two groups fall in the second round. However, The Mighty Nein make it to the third round. The doors of the pit open to reveal their next enemy: a hill giant.


Nott stares at the Hill Giant in front of her. She shrieks out and runs towards Beau. She fires her crossbow, but the bolt veers off target.

Caleb ducks behind a wall and casts firebolt.

Jester takes her symbol of The Traveler in her hands and waves her fingers over it like she’s seen Caleb do. She summons her spiritual weapon. A giant lollipop appears and smacks the giant in the face. Then, she casts sacred flame, hitting the giant again.

The hill giant grabs the pillar next to him. He breaks from the ground and throws it at Caleb. Caleb quickly casts shield, and the pillar and debris from the wall he’s hiding behind bounces off the arcane shield.

Molly runs behind the giant and swings his scimitars. He slices the giant’s legs. The giant starts to retaliate, and Molly casts a blood maledict. Still, the giant manages to hit him with the club, knocking Molly to the ground, unconscious.

Fjord summons his falchion. He hits the giant, carving into its skin. He runs away as the giant swings its club towards him.

Yasha tears into its side with her greatsword.

Jester looks over to Molly laying unconscious on the ground. She swings her spiritual weapon, hitting it in the elbow. She then casts toll of the dead. She huddles down, hiding from the giant.

The giant turns around and beats its club into Yasha. She is knocked unconscious as well.

The locket Molly is wearing stabilizes his bleeding, though he remains unconscious.

Beau points at the giant’s genitals and yells “tiny thing,” in an attempt to intimidate and make fun of him. However, he thinks she is referring to Nott and agrees with her.

Nott tells a bad joke to the giant.

Nott: “Why don’t goblins eat court jesters? Because they taste funny.”

Jester giggles from her hiding space. Nott casts Tasha’s hideous laughter, but the giant shakes it off.

Caleb, running out of options, casts sleep. The giant slowly falls to the ground. He lands, asleep.

Jester calls out, asking if that means they won, but no one responds.

Caleb: “That wasn’t even supposed to work.”

Jester goes over to Yasha and heals her. Then she goes over to Molly and gives him a healing potion.

They gather around the sleeping giant and prepare to attack. Beau hits him first. He wakes up angrily and she pokes him in the eye.

Nott aims her crossbow and unloads into the giant’s stomach. The arrow fatally wounds the giant, and it falls back dead.

Nott: “Did we win yet!”

Jester uses her thaumaturgy to get the crowd to chant Nott. She and Caleb both hide beneath their hoods.

The Mighty Nein are led back out of the center of the arena. They pass The Stubborn Stock and nod at them. They notice just how old one of the members of the group is. Nott unties the old man’s bootlaces.

The Stubborn Stock takes their position on the field. A lumbering wyvern, wings cut to prevent flight, comes out into the arena. The Stubborn Stock fights the beast, eventually defeating it, though only barely.

The cheers from the crowd begin again. The Mighty Nein come back into the arena to the cheers of the crowd. They are presented with 1,600 gold (200 for each round they completed and half of the pot).

They are led out of the arena back into the room where they overheard the conversation with the starosta. Jester tells the clerics that Molly, Yasha, and The Stubborn Stock all need healing.

In the room, they see the lawmaster, Dolan, the starosta, and two people they’ve never seen before. Fjord guesses that one is from the Menagerie Coast. Jester thinks he’s specifically from Marquet.

The starosta stands and congratulates them. He asks their names. Some of The Mighty Nein lies, but most give their real names. He thanks them also for the contract work they’ve done for the city. He asks where to find them if their services are ever needed again. They say that they usually stay at The Leaky Tap, but sometimes stay at The Pillow Trove when they are allowed in. The starosta ensures that they will be able to move freely into the Tri-Spire if needed.

They decide to talk to the wizards in the room. Yasha jokingly says she will talk to them, and, to her chagrin, everyone thinks it’s a great idea. Jester goes over to the starosta to eavesdrop.

Beau and Yasha wander over to Oremid Hass, the Headmaster of The Halls of Erudition, and Trent Ikithon. They pretend to be looking out the windows, but eventually introduce themselves.

Beau thanks them for their assistance in the Crick invasion. Through their conversation, Yasha admits she is from Xhorhas and has only been in the empire for about eight months. Yasha’s vision doubles for a moment and then quickly goes back to normal. Yasha tells them that she is in the empire to help.

Trent asks Beau if she is part of the Cobalt Soul, and she says that she is. Oremid says that they are doing great work, and Beau sarcastically says the Cobalt Soul thinks the same of the Hall of Erudition. Oremid laughs at this.

Beau and Yasha bid them a good day and leave.

Through Frumpkin’s eyes, Caleb sees Oremid begin to coo over Frumpkin. He picks up the cat, happily petting him, and places him outside.

When they all regroup, they agree that Oremid and Trent probably think Yasha is a Xhorhasian spy. Nott asks Yasha if she actually is a spy. She says that she isn’t, but she also doesn’t give a lot of insight into why she came to the empire. She admits, however, that she hates the Kryn Dynasty.

Molly says that they should only stay one more day in the city before leaving. Caleb agrees.

Darrow comes up the group as the arena is shut down. He wishes them luck in their future endeavors. He says they’re going back to their station to finish out their contract.

Jester tells the starosta that she is very adept in mental as well as physical healing. She offers to heal his mind of stress, but he declines. He says that he may have use of her services soon. She goes back to the group.

She tells the group how upset she is that the starosta isn’t partaking in her services. However, she whispers to Yasha that she actually isn’t very good at giving advice. Still, she offers her services to Yasha.

Jester tells the others that the package from her mother has probably arrived at The Pillow Trove. They agree to get Jester’s package, celebrate, and then get healing potions.

They make their way to The Pillow Trove. Jester gives Yasha a piggyback ride. Caleb asks Beau if she can get him into the library tomorrow before they leave the city. She says that she can.

They enter The Pillow Trove. They see the owner, standing in a red dress once again. Jester asks if she remembers her. The owner says she does. Jester informed her that they just won in the victory pit, and she asks if they have a discount for famous people. Jester goes to retrieve her package. She instructs the others to tell her how famous they are. She gives them a small discount of four gold for two rooms.

Jester gets her package, much to everyone’s shock. Jester tells the others that it’s a lot of money, so they should open it upstairs. She happily tells the others that they don’t have to worry about things anymore.

The owner tells them about The Pillow Trove’s services. One of which is companions to soothe their minds. They all immediately question Yasha about what kind of companion she would like.

They go up to their rooms. Jester tells the others that their money from her mother should go to new outfits for all of them, a feast, and new outfits for the horses. She opens the package and sees a small bundle wrapped with twine, a smaller package, and a letter. She reads the letter addressed to “Darling Jester.”

The letter says how much her mother misses her, but how happy she is that Jester is becoming her own woman. She hopes one day that Jester will be able to return to visit.

She opens the small package and sees a bottle of her mother’s lavender perfume. She also sees various colors of ink so she can keep painting.

In the pouch, she finds 200 gold. She begins to hyperventilate a bit at the shockingly small amount. She tries to talk herself into believing that her mother is trying to teach her about responsible spending. Nott suggests that her mother may be testing the postal system by sending a small amount before sending larger amounts.

Nott: “There’s people out there who steal mail!”

The others tell her that 200 gold is still a lot of money. Molly and Yasha say that’s more than they usually make in a year.

Fjord and Molly head off to their own room. Molly asks Fjord how deep of a sleeper he is. Fjord says that after a day like they’ve just had, pretty deep. Molly says he’ll be testing that, and he goes downstairs.

Molly asks for a masseuse who is willing to do other things, and someone else who will talk and feed him. He pays 20 gold for the services.

A young man and woman enter, wearing silk robes. Caleb is still awake reading his book. Fjord gets up off the head and lets Molly have it. Fjord takes an apple from their tray of food.

Fjord: “Godspeed.”

Fjord and Caleb leave the room. Caleb buys another room. Fjord sits out in the hallway. Molly knocks on the ladies’ room, saying that they have fruit in his room. Beau offers Fjord a place in their room.

Caleb sends a message to Nott, asking her to find an excuse to bring Beau over to his room.

They discuss ordering room service. Nott suggests  she and Beau go order room service. Yasha and Nott wonder if they’ll cook the rats for them. Nott takes her and Yasha’s rat downstairs to order room service. She promises not to eat Yasha’s rat if Yasha, being a Xhorhasian spy, doesn’t kill her in her sleep.

They place their orders and make their way to Caleb’s room. Nott sends messages to each of the rooms, asking if Caleb is in any of them. When she finally finds Caleb, they go in.

Caleb asks Beau what she thinks about the empire. She says it could be better, but she isn’t invested in the political system. She says her father sacrificed a lot to get where he is, but she isn’t sure if it was worth it.

Caleb asks Nott if she would be willing to run away tomorrow. Just the two of them. Nott says that she would.

Caleb: “I’m going to tell you two the story of how I murdered my mother and father.”

He explains he grew up outside Rexxentrum, in Blumenthal. His mother and father were Leofric and Una Widogast. He explains that he was a child prodigy, and everything just seemed to work for him. As he got older, he learned that he had a knack for the arcane. He hoped to go to the Solstrice Academy. When he was a young man, three of the young people from the town were accepted into the academy. He and the other two went there. For a year, he studied, though he found his work easier than others. After a year, he met a man named Trent Ikithon. Trent picked three students, including Caleb, to be trained specifically under him. He was cruel and trained his students to protect the empire. They trained under him, learning despite the cruelty.

Caleb: “I also fell in love, but that’s another story.”

Trent wanted to test their allegiance. So, they became executioners for strangers who had betrayed the empire.

He took a trip home. He overheard them talking about revolution and tearing the empire down. He felt disgraced and ashamed of his family. When he went back to school, the three students reported their findings. They went to one students house and watched as they murdered their parents. The next student poisoned them during dinner. Finally, Caleb blocked the exits to his parents’ home and set it on fire.

However, as soon as his mother and father began screaming, he began to lose his confidence that this was the right thing to do. He ended up in a asylum for a number of years after that. He says he doesn’t remember it much.

Years later, he met another patient who healed him of his madness and false memories of his parents. Their parents, Caleb realized, had never actually talked of revolution like they thought. The memories were planted.

Caleb, realizing what had happened, ran. He killed one of Trent’s guards and stole their necklace. The necklace, he says, prevents them from finding him.

He explains that whether or not he runs tomorrow depends on Beau. She says that she’s good at keeping secrets. She explains that, now that they know this, they have a responsibility to keep Trent from hurting more people. He says that this is his eventual goal.

Caleb: “Anyone can make lights. Anyone can send message through a wire. I want to bend reality to my will.”

Beau: “Caleb, you don’t though. No one wants that amount of power and responsibility.”

Still, she agrees to take him to the library.

Beau: “You can selfishly go after this guy for your own vendetta, or you can prevent others from getting hurt in the same way.”

Caleb: “Both of those are appealing to me.”

She reminds him that a little bit of teamwork goes a long way.

He reminds Beau that they have food waiting. He suggests that she retrieve it. She grumpily complies, saying that he dumped his past on her and then immediately asked her to leave. She promises to keep everything a secret.

Beau: “I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of though.”

With Nott and Caleb alone in the room, Nott throws her arms around Caleb and hugs him.

Nott: “It wasn’t you. It’s not your fault.”

She tells him that the pain he wears is just a mask, and he can take it off someday. She tells him that she will keep telling him it isn’t his fault until he believes her.

She swears that she will be at his side until he forgives himself. She promises that, whatever he needs, she’ll get it for him.

The Mighty Nein all eventually go to bed.

The next morning, Jester tells Beau, Molly, Nott, and Caleb that they all had a crazy orgy in their room while everyone else was gone.

They decide to say hello to Dolan, inform The Gentleman that they plan to leave, go to Pumat’s for supplies, go to the library, and travel to another town.

Jester asks the front desk to send a painting she made the night before to her mother.

As they exit The Pillow Trove, the tone of the city has shifted. The skies are grey and an air of stress  moves through the streets. One of the town criers announces that war has been declared. The Righteous Brand is mobilizing east to defend the empire. They see Righteous Brand soldiers moving through the streets and saying goodbye to their friends and family.

They go to the job board to see if there are any postings for armed guards needed to accompany rich people traveling. They find none. As they look, a messenger comes up to them, saying the lawmaster is looking for them.

They follow the messenger to the lawmaster. She looks up from her papers and greets them. She invites them to take a seat.

She starts by congratulating them for their performance in the victory pits.

Jester asks if they’re going to war. She says that they are, but hopes that the conflict is swift. Her attentions, she says, are on the city. Many of the forces will move from the city to the frontlines. Money isn’t an issue, but personnel is. She asks them to stay and protect the city.

Fjord explains that they can’t give her a yes or no right now. Jester says that they appreciate the offer. She says that the first contract she can offer includes a 10,000 gold bounty. Their interest immediately piques. They promise to consider the offer.

As they leave, they balk at the 10,000 gold bounty. They wait for the others to come back from their mission.

Meanwhile, Caleb, Beau, and Nott go to the archive. Caleb uses disguise self to look like a member of the Cobalt Soul. Beau suggests that they modify one of their usual schemes to the situation. Nott uses disguise self to appear like a little halfling girl.

Beau goes up to the desk. They explain that they’re looking for texts on the history of the greatest arcanists.

The inside of the archive is overhwlemingly large and completely filled with shelves and books. Caleb discusses with the librarian more specifically what he is looking for. He is looking for texts on pushing the boundaries of what is magically possible. He is given several texts.

He reads through the texts until Beau begins to argue that they should leave. He continues to read for another 30 minutes, promising to leave after.

After the 30 minutes is up, they leave. Caleb looks over his shoulder at the books he’s leaving behind.

Jester tells the others about the gray mote.  She suggests that each person use the beacon, but only one can use it per day. Fjord focuses on the beacon and absorbs the gray mote.

When he comes back, Jester explains that Caleb was crying about his mother and father when he went in. Fjord says he doesn’t feel any different.

When everyone rejoins the group, they head to Pumat’s. Unfortunately, he is out of healing potions. A pearl catches Jester’s eye. She buys a pearl of power for 350 gold.

Nott asks for enchanted crossbow bolts. She buys two enchanted crossbow bolts that do fire damage at 50 gold per bolt.

Yasha, Fjord, Jester, and Molly explain to Beau, Caleb, and Nott about the offer from the lawmaster, including the 10,000 gold bounty. Jester thinks they will be protecting the city rather than joining the war.

They go to another shop looking for healing potions. However, the shopkeeper says they won’t have any more for another week. Jester buys a herbalism kit and Nott buys some ingredients for acid.

They decide to go back to the lawmaster and give her their regrets about not staying in Zadash to help.

Nott: “You’re going to make some adventuring party very happy some day.”

During their conversation, she lets it slip that The Hawker, a rogue legionnaire with ties to the Myriad, is the 10,000 gold valley. He has managed to elude capture for five years.

Upon hearing the bounty and the potential to visit the Menagerie Coast, Jester begins to quickly discuss their options. The reward is 10,000 alive, 5,000 dead. The lawmaster says that they must be under contract as a legionnaire to take the bounty. She says that about half of the bounty would apply if they captured him and were not under contract.

They decide to discuss some more and head back to The Leaky Tap. While they’re walking, they see Kara with her hood up.

Kara: “If you have a moment, things are getting strange around here. The Gentleman may have a bit of work for ya.”

To be continued…

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About the Artist: Nick Uroseva (@Nick_Uroseva)

Nick is a professional graphic artist from Youngstown, Ohio. He has a BA in Multimedia Technology. When he isn’t doodling for one thing or another, he spends is his time writing and Dungeon Mastering several D&D games, enjoying craft beer, shooting zombies with Nerf blasters, and tweeting about #CriticalRole. Buy him a coffee!

Fiona L.F. Kelly (@FionaLFKelly)
Fiona L.F. Kelly is a writer, editor, and podcaster. She has published numerous articles about all things gaming and pop culture on websites all across the internet, was also a writer for Trinity Continuum: Aberrant 2e, and has been published in books and magazines. She is an editor for the pop culture and media website GeekGals.co. In addition to her writing and editing, she has also been a guest and host on several podcasts. She hosts the Project Derailed podcast Big Streaming Pile, produces and performs on Fables Around the Table, and plays the githyanki pirate Rav’nys on Tales of the Voidfarer. Buy her a coffee: ko-fi.com/fionalfkelly

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